Israeli school attack claims 37 lives

Henry

According to a hospital in Gaza, at least 37 people died on Thursday in an Israeli attack on a school run by the United Nations and believed to have been used as a shelter by the Palestinian militant group Hamas.

The Israeli army also confirmed that it had “eliminated” several militants during an attack on a “Hamas compound” in the Nuseirat area in central Gaza.

Adm. Israel’s military spokesman Daniel Hagari said nine “terrorists” were killed when fighter jets targeted three classrooms on Thursday where about 30 militants from the Islamic Jihad and Hamas were hiding.

The Shuhada al-Aqsa State Hospital in Deir al-Balah, near Nuseirat, said on Thursday it had received the bodies of at least “37 martyrs”.

Faisal Thari, a displaced resident of Gaza who sought refuge at the school, told AFP: “”Why? What have we done to them to bomb us?”

Hamas, for its part, condemned the “new crime … against our people”.

The US is now calling on Israel to play open cards about the attack.

“The government of Israel has said it will release more information about this attack, including the names of those who died. We expect them to be fully transparent and release that information,” US State Department spokesman Matthew Miller told reporters.

Antonio Guterres, head of the UN, described the attack as “just another horrific example of the price that civilians pay”.

“There will have to be accountability for everything that happened in Gaza,” added his spokesman, Stephane Dujarric.

Meanwhile, Josep Borrell, head of foreign policy at the European Union (EU), called for an independent investigation into the attack.

Israel accuses Hamas and its allies in Gaza of using schools, hospitals and other civilian infrastructure as shelters, including facilities run by the UN agency for Palestine refugees, UNRWA, as operational centers.

Hamas denies these allegations.